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“Excellent under good weather”
Review of River Yacuma

River Yacuma
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed October 29, 2013

We took a pampas tour down this river with a reputable company in Rurrenabaque. We were unlucky to arrive in Santa Rosa port on a rainy day so as soon as we got on the small canoe, we did see some birds, but it was rather dissapointing as there were no alligators nor capybaras. The next day, our guide took us up river and we never saw so many animals. Apparently, the sun makes the animals flock to the riverbed and it was amazing to see squirrel monkeys, caymans, sereres, even a sloth and tons of birds. Of course it is something you cannot control, but avoid going in the rainy season, as you will see some animals but not like this place has the potential to show.

Thank Tamara P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 24, 2013

we booked a trip to the pampas with indigena tours. they were a bit more expensive than others but had as well better reviews regarding their guides and services.

there was actually nothing really to complain about and we would recommend anyone to go with this company. the one day in advance organisation (from la paz) of our trip worked out perfectly. we had by far the most comfortable car from rurranbaque to santa rosa (3 hours bumpy road), our accommodation was nice, we even got upgraded for free into a double room, our guide was excellent regarding treating the environment (no feeding/teasing of animals) but was flirting a bit too much with a girl in our group which affected the mood of our whole group in the end (she wasn't happy to be flirted at, he wasn't happy to be rejected which reflected in a temporary negative mood from his side...).

anyway, the amount of crocodiles, dolphines, turtles, capybaras, monkeys, birds and other animals was just stunning (attention, it's dry season now, it's a different picture during wet season when everything is flooded) and we could have been cruising for many more hours thru the beautiful nature in our small boat.

1  Thank puregin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2013

I heard many things about tour companies for Jungle tour in Madidi, that's why I decided to book with the company recommended by Lonely planet. Actually, there was just two options, Bala and Fluvial, I heard the first one has good service but too expensive for me, that's why I booked with the second option: Fluvial, this company asked for 500Bs for the tour even though the travel book doesn't recommend a tour agency that offers their service at lower price than 900Bs for 3 days tour(something ironic, as this company is recomended in the book, but has a suspicious lower price than the suggested by Lonely planet, 2013 edition)....

When I arrived to rurrenabaque I took my way to Fluvial Tours, the tour started around 09:30am, having to wait for people who arrive late because flight delayings. The Jungle Madidi itself was Amazing, I mean it was relaxing, with some animal sounds, Macaws, many different types of flowers, and some other plant species I don't remember the name, because the guide spoke less than a basic english (to be honest I didn't ask if the guide had or not a good english when booking, but some people in the group were told that , in fact, they will got an english speaking guide) and the lodge was really basic (in my personal opinion I expected something better for a company being recommended by the Lonely). what's more the guide said (implied) in a conversation with one of the group that hunting was possible in the area but with some extra money. He didn't say it literally, but it was implied. I´m surprised this travel agency is in the Lonely planet book....
After Madidi tour I wanted to do Pampas Tour, that's why I asked to the group members about Pampas tour, and a couple told me that they had just done Pampas with Scorpion Tours, they said that it was an standard service, with espanish speaking guide, average food and old lodge, a litle dirty. I think the price was around 450Bs.- (the half price recommended by lonely planet). They said they could even feed monkeys with bananas, and some cookies.... I believe it wasn´t allowed. I´m not a amateur or a specialist but as far as I know monkeys in Pampas eat insects, nuts and some plants, as there is NO BANANAS nearby. But this couple were told that this monkeys had no other food than the one provided by tourists. Also, they were told that eating piranas was something usual there, that they do it all the time, to please the customers....

After my experience in Jungle Madidi Tour, i get disappointed. And after a little research I took my decision trusting Indigena Tours, and as it is said in the Lonely handbook :"not all the companies provide the same level of service, and cheaper most definitely does not mean better", I can say that I'd better payed more for a better service in Jungle, because in Pampas I got an excellent service...it was just awesome, the lodge clean, the tour guide friendly, expert and skilled concerning to animals, delicious food. What I didn´t like was the mosquitoes..haha.. and the way to santa Rosa de Yacuma, I got a pain in my back, gobernment or someone else has to fix the route asap. And just being curious (specially of what I have been told in Jungle tour by the couple about feeding monkeys), I asked the guide if I was allowed to feed monkeys, he told me I wasn't. He said (as I said before) "they just eat some trees´ leaves which are burned every year and some types of insects, and NO bananas as it doesn't grow in Pampas ground. Besides this fruit or other that is not grown in the area can damage the monkeys teeth and nutrition "...., and I asked to about the pirana, he said that the fish is given back to the river and eating them was not allowed.

Certainly,I got a lot of valuable information, I didn't even know......


Thank sofyart2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2013

I bought the tour in La Paz along with the flight there and back. From talking to people that had taken the 18 hour bus ride, the flight was the way to go. The tours have a minimum and maximum number of people that are part of the group. If you don't make the minimum you get put into another tour. This isn't really a problem since they all do exactly the same thing right down to the menu for the meals.
When you arrive in Rurrenabaque airport you need to take either the bus or a motorcycle to the town. I opted for the motorcycle. They say 10 bs but the guy I met on the plane said 5 and they said jump on. (I'm not very good at haggling)

They drop you off on Tour office street (I call it that because all the offices are there) They will watch luggage you don't want to take with you.

The tours range from 500 to 900 bs if you buy in La Paz, but if you pay for it when you get to Rurrenabaque you can talk them out of the La Paz commission pretty quickly if the tour isn't at the max. 2 guys in my group said "I can get a tour with Sunset Tours across the street for 480" and the person in the Escorpian Tours office immediately went from 550 to 450. I had booked with Hauticn (spelling) Tours but we were only 3 so we went with the Escorpian Tours for a total of 7.

We had a great group and I think this and the Guide are the key to having a good time while you are there. We did the quick intros in front of the Escorpian Tours office and everyone seemed to just hit it off. The was guide introduced himself to us, Diego, with Escorpian) and we piled into the Jeep. We were all ready for a 4 hour long drive to get to the start of the river. We all knew it was supposed to be a horrible ride (it wasn't that bad, I've had worse in Africa and one of the guys in the Jeep said the outback is worse too) Don't plan on arriving clean. The dust from the road is everywhere inside the Jeep, I was so dirty, I just threw my pants out (I didn't think it would be worth cleaning them). You stop at the half way point for at a store where you can get refreshment, cigarettes ... 2 hours later you stop at a restaurant just outside of the Park where you you get a pretty average lunch (included in the tour price) From there you drive to the Park (10 mins) pay your 150 bs and continue a couple mins. to the boats.
When we got to the boats, there are washrooms where you can change into your shorts and t-shirt. The driver and Diego unloaded the Jeep while we were changing. When we got back everyone just started carrying stuff to the boat. I noticed many of the other groups were just carrying their own stuff and leaving the food, gas, and other things for the guide. I knew those groups would NOT have the same experience as we would have. THE MORE YOU PUT INTO IT, THE MORE YOU WILL GET OUT OF IT.
I launched the boat and we were off. 1 min. in the river and we were all taking pictures of our first alligator. You will see 1000s of them so don't worry if you miss the first 500 :) about 20 mins up river Diego asked us if we wanted to swim because we had seen some dolphins. We were all nervous because of all the alligators but he pulled into the mud took off his shirt and dove into the water. The people in the group that could swim followed. None of the alligators even noticed we were in the water they just kept sun bathing. We got near the Dolphins but really they didn't want anything to do with us. The other boats showed up, parked and all the Dolphins left the area, so we did as well. Half an hour later someone in the group saw a monkey. We stopped and within seconds there was at least 20 monkeys hoping we had bananas for them, we did. They jumped in the boat, on our heads, sat in our laps, it was a lot of fun. For those that think this isn't eco-friendly ask the park rangers why the monkeys lived through the fire that burnt down all the trees, because they were fed by locals and tourists.
We then continued up the river stopping occasionally because Diego knew of something hidden in the trees. (The other guides didn't know or didn't want to show their groups most of these things because they just passed us on the river looking confused). We got to see a massive bird in it's nest feeding it's babies just behind the tree line but still so high the animals couldn't get to the 'eggs'. Things like that.
We passed half a dozen camps that all looked exactly the same including the 900bs camp. Ours was in the middle and again identical to the others. Nothing special, CAMP not lodge, not hotel. (expect it you're in the wild) The beds had mosquito nets, mattresses, pillow, sheet and a blanket. 3 groups per building with 3 rooms 1 per group. There is a communal washroom/shower area. (the water is solar heated so cold in the morning warm around noon).
We were lucky we didn't have to follow the game plan. Diego just asked us what we wanted to do. We passed on the Anaconda search, but did the other things. Sunset at the bar where all the tours go every night(I'm sure it's down time for the guides). Here we played football and volleyball until the sun went down. Swam with dolphins another 3 times, fished everyone caught 1 or more fish but me because I preferred to watch (they ate them for supper that night) 3 good meals a day, saw a lot of the wild life (3 different species of monkey, anaconda came to our camp, alligators, caymons, birds, capiberras, dolphins). The final day Diego asked us what we wanted to do and we all agreed leaving and taking 5 hours to get the boat docks instead of 2 would be the best. We did this stopped a few times on the way, it really was relaxing instead of speeding back.

If you are expecting luxury this isn't for you. If you are expecting to be waited upon you won't have a great time. This is a dirty, luxury-free fun camping trip. The only luxury is a good cook and mattresses on the beds. Mosquitos a plenty when the sun goes down.

If you are thinking you can do this in an eco-friendly way, you have your head in the sand.
Every tour has plane or bus, followed by Jeep ride, boat ride, diesel generators to get water to the bathrooms, electricity (ours was 6 pm - 10 pm) for lights and recharging batteries and propane for the cook. Where do you think all your soap, shampoo, toothpaste and toilet flushing is going every time you use the bathroom, not to mention the Deet you sprayed to keep the bugs away? All the tours are the same there is no way you can do this without leaving a carbon footprint, missing out of things like feeding the monkeys and touching a turtle or alligator is your loss. Yes the monkeys get a little aggressive when there's food, just like they do in the wild, but the smaller ones know grab and run so the larger ones can't steal their food.

It's 3 days along the side of a river, expect to get dirty and help out. We all pitched in and everyone had a great time. (example) The boat beside ours at a beach landing couldn't pull out because the entire group was sitting in the boat waiting for a miracle. 5 of our group members got into our boat sat at the back so the nose lifted. Bright and I pushed our boat off jumped in and we were on our way, 5 mins later when we going back passed them they were all still sitting in the boat and the guide was trying to rock it free with the motor. I'm sure those people are the ones that write the negative comments here.

1  Thank JymMorton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 1, 2013

We've been in Bolivia just a week ago. We did many tours around this country, but the most amazing was the Pampas tour. We could see wildlife so close that it was hard to believe. Lots of animals everywhere. And we had an awesome experience thanks to Indigena Tours; I think that this is spot on. After doing some research, we read that they had the best service at good price but with some comments. I thoroughly think that this company listens all customer suggestions, complaint and requests, because we got an awesome service. We started the tour on time (all peolple'd arrived one day before), the lady on the office was so helpful (she booked our flight back), the car was confortable and it even had air conditioning(seems it was new) and we were lucky it is dry season now, no muddy roads!!!. What's more, the lodge was basic , but clean and pleasant, you can smell and feel nature everywhere. At dawn and dusk, there were some monkeys howling close to the lodge and we could listen some other different animal sounds. The pink dolphins....we saw some at different parts os the river. Even though it was dark muddy water; swimming close to this fantastic animals was the best experience I'd ever had. Besides,our guide, was friendly with us with a very good english as the company told us. Indigena is eco friendly, so feeding animals was not allowed. There were plenty of food at the meal time. The only thing I didn´t like at Pampas was the bats....got frightened.
I hope my experience help you all.

Anne and Toby

1  Thank tobyk k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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